Drawing a stark contrast between himself and his counterpart in the US, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a surprise appearance at Khmeimim Airbase in Syria – which has traditionally been used by the Russian air force – on Monday morning, where he ordered the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria, now that the ISIS insurgency that once controlled roughly one-third of the country’s land area has been effectively dismantled.
The Russian president was met by his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al-Assad, and Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu at the airbase. Russian forces fighting with the Syrian Army during the country’s civil war were stationed at the base. Putin ordered the withdrawal of Russian troops to begin immediately, according to Russia Today.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 11, 2017.
You grew up wanting so bad to be Luke Skywalker, but you realize that you were basically a Stormtrooper, a faceless, nameless rifleman, carrying a spear for empire, and you start to accept the startlingly obvious truth that these are people like you. Question: How do you Americans as a people walk around head held high, knowing that every few months your country is committing a 9/11 size atrocity to other people. Imagine if the 9/11 terror attacks were happening in America every few months. Again and again, innocent people dying all around you. Your brothers and sisters. For no reason. Daniel Crimmins from U. S. Army 3rd Infantry Division answered: Many of us are unable. Many of us watched 9/11, and accepted the government and media’s definition of the attack as a act of war rather than a criminal action. A smaller portion, drifting along passively thought a major war was coming, that people we knew were going to fight and die. Some of us maybe worried about our younger brother being drafted, despite being in college. Now, it seems stupid, but in the 72 hours after 9/11, some Americans, maybe suffering from depression, certainly with a mind shaped by comic books and action movies, ate up the ‘us vs. them’ good vs. evil rhetoric spouted by the cowboy in chief. After all, he was the president, and no matter how bright you might think yourself, you can still be swayed by passion and emotion, led to terrible decisions.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 10, 2017.
After decades of waste, overpayments, trillions of missing or improperly accounted for dollars, and most recently losing track of 44,000 US soldiers, the Pentagon is about to undergo its first audit in history conducted by 2,400 auditors from independent public accounting firms to conduct reviews across the Army, Navy, Air Force and more – followed by annual audits going forward. *** The announcement follows a May commitment by Pentagon comptroller David Norquist, who previously served as the CFO at the Department of Homeland Security when the agency performed its audit. “Starting an audit is a matter of driving change inside a bureaucracy that may resist it,” Norquist told members of the Armed Services Committee at the time when pressed over whether or not he could get the job done at the DHS.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 10, 2017.
At least two rioters have been killed during clashes with the Israeli army along the border of the Gaza strip on Friday. And of course, the media didn’t hesitate to blame their deaths on President Trump… So, post #Trump‘s announcement on #Jerusalem, we’ve had one anti-Semitic attack in the Netherlands, and a Palestinian has been shot dead near Gaza, with thousands injured. More of the same to come… – Jack Mendel (@Mendelpol) December 8, 2017 Disturbances and demonstrations broke out in the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip on Friday after Hamas, the terrorist organization that until recently exercised unilateral conrol over the Gaza Strip, called for Palestinians to rise up in a third Intifada against the Israelis while also declaring Friday a “Day of Rage following Trump’s Wednesday decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and ordered the State Department to begin preparations to move the US embassy there. While most of Israel’s administrative services are based in West Jerusalem, most embassies and foreign diplomats are based in Tel Aviv. While Trump’s decision sparked outrage among leaders of the Muslim world and even drew a rebuke from the UN Security Council, the president pointed out in a late-night tweet that every former US president since at least Bill Clinton has promised to recognize Jerusalem as the capital.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 8, 2017.
As North Korea continues its saber-rattling exercises, with the latest coming via an ICBM test that confirmed the rogue nation could reach a bombing target anywhere in the continental U. S., the South has responded with similar displays of force largely consisting drills conducted in coordination with the United States military (see: In “Largest-Ever” Military Drill, US Orders 16,000 Troops, 230 Jets To Simulate War With North Korea). Now, as the Financial Times points out this morning, South Korean preparations for a potential confrontation with their northern neighbor will include the creation of a weaponized drone unit that could be used to swarm North Korea in the event of a conflict. Operated by the army, the unit will primarily engage in reconnaissance missions to survey developments at the North’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile sites, but could in future be used to launch swarm attacks, according to people familiar with the matter. The establishment of the army unit follows calls from western officials and analysts for South Korea to improve its advanced surveillance technology. ‘South Korea’s army plans to create a drone-bot combat unit in 2018 and set up a professional combat team to operate it,’ an official at the Ministry of Defence confirmed. ‘South Korea has reached a level of consensus on swarm technology, but adoption will take a while,’ said a person familiar with the military developments. ‘The army is facing [political] pressure to reduce its forces, so it has to come up with new ideas.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 6, 2017.
In a historic moment, ignored by much of Western media, Russian military officials have announced the complete and utter defeat of ISIS in Syria. The Russian General Staff issued a statement Wednesday declaring that all territories previously under terrorist control were liberated in a final push by the Syrian Army this week, and with the support of Russian forces. ‘All terrorist units of ISIS on Syrian soil have been destroyed, and the territory is liberated,’ Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Valery Gerasimov said in comments translated and published by RT. “Therefore, as of today, there’s no territory controlled by ISIS in Syria,’ he added. The announcement came during an annual briefing for foreign military attaches, and incidentally on the same day President Trump gave an extremely controversial televised address wherein he gave official US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, thus it could mean that the demise of one problem could give rise to another in an increasingly volatile and explosive Middle East environment. *** The rapid collapse of ISIS – which once controlled an area the size of Britain stretching from the edges of Aleppo to Mosul in Iraq, and down to Ramadi and Fallujah – began in earnest in early September when the Syrian Army breached ISIS lines around Deir Ezzor city, after which the city was fully liberated by early November. As ISIS retreated in the Deir Ezzor countryside, it lost its previous Syrian capital of Raqqa in mid-October to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which also struck a deal to allow the quick exit of ISIS terrorists to other parts of Syria and region, according to a report by the BBC.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 6, 2017.
US forces plan to stay in Syria “as long as they need to’ support local partners and to ensure that terrorists will not return, a Pentagon official told AFP on Tuesday. The announcement comes as the Islamic State has ceased to be a reality, and as the Syrian Army is on the cusp of final victory over ISIS in remaining pockets of eastern Syria. ‘We are going to maintain our commitment on the ground as long as we need to, to support our partners and prevent the return of terrorist groups,’ Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon said. ‘To ensure an enduring defeat of ISIS, the coalition must ensure it cannot regenerate, reclaim lost ground, or plot external attacks.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 5, 2017.
Be it a sudden surge in the effectiveness of Russia’s international espionage and cyber warfare operations or a mere figment of the imaginations of a frightening group of politicians in the West who fear they’re slowly losing control over the masses in their respective countries, one thing is certain, Russia is increasingly being blamed for some very serious “meddling” in foreign affairs. The problem, of course, is that while everyone from Hillary Clinton to Angela Merkel and Theresa May, among others, attempt to saddle Russia with the blame for their waning popularity, their farcical attempts to identify a scapegoat as a method for sowing unity within their own fractured political parties could very well result in real world consequences, including a return to cold war era military build ups. As the latest evidence of that fact, Russian President Vladimir Putin recently called on all “large-scale enterprise” to be ready to “increase military production” on a moments notice should the need arise. Per The Independent: Russian business should be prepared to switch to production to military needs at any time, said Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. The Russian president was speaking at a conference of military leaders in Sochi. ‘The ability of our economy to increase military production and services at a given time is one of the most important aspects of military security,’ Mr Putin said. ‘To this end, all strategic, and simply large-scale enterprise should be ready, regardless of ownership.’ A day earlier, the president had spoken of a need to catch up and overtake the West in military technology. ‘Our army and navy need to have the very best equipment – better than foreign equivalents,’ he said. ‘If we want to win, we have to be better.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 23, 2017.
If the economy is doing just fine, then why is homelessness at levels not seen ‘since the Great Depression’ in major cities all over the country? If the U. S. economy was actually in good shape, we would expect that the number of people that are homeless would be going down or at least stabilizing. Instead, we have a growing national crisis on our hands. In fact, within the past two years ‘at least 10 cities or municipal regions in California, Oregon and Washington’ have declared a state of emergency because the number of homeless is growing so rapidly. Things are particularly bad in southern California, and this year the Midnight Mission will literally be feeding a small army of people that have nowhere to sleep at night… Thanksgiving meals will be served to thousands of homeless and near-homeless individuals today on Skid Row and in Pasadena and Canoga Park amid calls for donations and volunteers for the rest of the year. The Midnight Mission will serve Thanksgiving brunch to nearly 2,500 homeless and near-homeless men, women and children, according to Georgia Berkovich, its director of public affairs. Overall, the Midnight Mission serves more than a million meals a year, and Berkovich says that homelessness hasn’t been this bad in southern California ‘since the Great Depression’…
What we call Reality is a hall of mirrors. It reflects itself back and forth and builds up a consensus. People do the same thing. They confirm with one another that the reality they believe is real is, in fact, real. And having established that, they live out their lives and make the best of it. But what happens if you defect? What happens if you’re not satisfied to live out the rest of your life inside the space of what everyone assumes is real? More to the point, what happens if you’re not satisfied to live out the rest of your life inside the space of what YOU assume is real? This is where a lot of people get off the train. They assert, with great assurance, that what they have discovered is the ultimate frontier. They’ve broken through the illusion. They’ve found out who is running the show from behind the curtain.
Judicial Watch has just dumped a new treasure trove of FBI emails regarding Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s conflict check relative to the Clinton email investigation (for those who missed it, we reviewed all of McCabe’s many scandals here: “FBI Director McCabe Subject Of Three Separate Federal Inquiries Into Alleged Misconduct: Report“). Ironically, this particular FOIA request was filed in October 2016 under the Obama administration but they apparently just “didn’t have time” to get to it. Judicial Watch today released 79 pages of Justice Department documents concerning ethics issues related to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s involvement with his wife’s political campaign. The documents include an email showing Mrs. McCabe was recruited for a Virginia state senate race in February 2015 by then-Virginia Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam’s office. The news that Clinton used a private email server broke five days later, on March 2, 2015. Five days after that, former Clinton Foundation board member and Democrat party fundraiser, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, met with the McCabes. She announced her candidacy on March 12. Soon afterward, Clinton/McAuliffe-aligned political groups donated nearly $700,000 (40% of the campaign’s total funds) to McCabe’s wife for her campaign. Judicial Watch obtained the documents through a July 24, 2017, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed after the Justice Department failed to respond to an October 24, 2016, FOIA request Among other things, the new FOIA dump reveals a panicked FBI’s efforts to enlist the support of an army of lawyers and public relations personnel to deal with the original Wall Street Journal article (see: “Clinton Ally Aided Campaign of FBI Official’s Wife“) that first revealed McCabe’s ties to the Clintons and his simultaneous oversight of the Clinton email investigation.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 21, 2017.
Mugabe is meeting heads of security forces. This is the first time we're seeing the participation of Air Force Commander Perence Shiri, Police commissioner Chihuri and Prisons chief Zimondi. (Pics via @HeraldZimbabwe) pic.twitter.com/J44vK0hYWL — Zim Media Review (@ZimMediaReview) November 19, 2017
Update 8: Bloomberg is reporting that Zimbabwe’s ruling party will proceed Monday with its plans to impeach President Robert Mugabe after the long-term leader refused to resign Sunday evening, as was expected. Bloomberg’s sources said Mugabe’s speech, including a vow to preside over the party conference in December, deviated from an earlier agreement with military authorities to read a prepared statement of resignation. Unsurprisingly given his past remarks, it seems Mugabe is comfortable risking a civil war if it means retaining his tenuous grip on power. So with the path forward for Zimbabwe looking dangerously uncertain, the AP has published a timeline reminding readers exactly how we got to this point… Nov. 6: After a campaign of public insults against Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mugabe fires his longtime deputy, later accusing him of plotting to take power via witchcraft. Mnangagwa flees the country. Nov 13: Army commander Constantino Chiwenga issues a rare public rebuke, saying the military won’t hesitate to “step in” to calm political tensions and criticizing the handling of the once-prosperous southern African nation’s crumbling economy. Nov. 14: Armored personnel carriers are seen on the outskirts of the capital, Harare. The military moves in overnight, taking control of the state-run broadcaster.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 19, 2017.
In the last two days, the Zimbabwe stock market has crashed almost 10% as a ‘not-military-coup’ has ousted 93-year-old President Mugabe – the question is, what happens next? Bloomberg reports that Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s refusal to publicly resign is stalling plans by the military to swiftly install a transitional government after seizing power on Wednesday, two people familiar with the situation said. That uncertainty is clearly showing up in Zimbabwe stocks…
The military wants Mugabe, who’s under house arrest, to agree to step aside so it can claim its action isn’t a coup and head off tension with the Southern African Development Community, which includes Zimbabwe and South Africa, the people said. The group previously intervened when the army took over in Lesotho.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 16, 2017.
We noted yesterday that Zimbabwe military commander, General Constantino Chiwenga, said on state television that he was not launching a military coup, while Mugabe and his family were safe, they were targeting criminals around the Mugabe family and the situation will return to normal soon. Well, that changed fast and with events fluid, the latest from Zimbabwe is that the army is in control of the country, and holding president Mugabe “for his own safety”, while it was removing ‘criminals’ around him such as the country’s finance minster. Overnight, an army spokesman said on state television that Mugabe and his family were being held in a ‘safe and secure place’ while soldiers carried out the operation in Harare, which followed a day of high tension between the army’s commander, General Constantino Chiwenga, and Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF. Below is the text of an address made by Zimbabwe Major General SB Moyo, Chief of Staff Logistics, on national television after the military seized power: We wish to assure the nation that His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, and commander in chief of Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Comrade RG Mugabe, and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed. We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 15, 2017.
Zimbabwe is on edge amid speculation that a military coup is in progress, with army tanks seen outside the capital a day after the army commander threatened to “step in” to calm political tensions over the president’s firing of his vice president. The Associated Press said it saw three tanks with several soldiers in a convoy on a road heading toward an army barracks just outside the capital, Harare, while Reuters reported that four tanks were seen heading toward the capital. According to Reuters, two other tanks were seen parked beside the main road from Harare to Chinhoyi, about 20km from the city. Eyewitnesses also saw military vehicles blocking major roads outside the city. The alleged coup takes place one day after Zimbabwe’s army chief demanded a “stop” to the purge in President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF, following the sacking of vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa. Mnangagwa was well-supported by the Zimbabwean national forces. On Monday, Amry General Constantino Chiwenga told a media conference attended by at least 90 senior army officers at the army headquarters in Harare on Monday that: “The current purging which is clearly targeting members of the party with a liberation background must stop forthwith.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 14, 2017.
At a moment of widespread acknowledgement that the short-lived Islamic State is no longer a reality, and as ISIS is about to be defeated by the Syrian Army in its last urban holdout of Abu Kamal City in eastern Syria, the US is signalling an open-ended military presence in Syria. On Monday Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon that the US is preparing for a long term military commitment in Syria to fight ISIS “as long as they want to fight.” Mattis indicated that even should ISIS loose all of its territory there would still be a dangerous insurgency that could morph into an “ISIS 2.0” which he said the US would seek to prevent. ‘The enemy hasn’t declared that they’re done with the area yet, so we’ll keep fighting as long as they want to fight,’ Mattis said. ‘We’re not just going to walk away right now before the Geneva process has traction.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 14, 2017.
Since the beginning of the year, much ink has been spilled about the Army’s increasingly desperate attempts to fill its lofty recruiting quota for fiscal year 2017-2018: That is, 80,000 new soldiers. To hit that number, the Army has repeatedly loosened its recruiting requirements. Last month, the military introduced a new policy that would forgive recruits with a history of marijuana use or certain marijuana related criminal violations… …and now, the military is taking those efforts one step further, with USA Today reporting today that the Army has expanded its criteria for granting ‘waivers’ to certain recruits who violate criteria related to mental-health violations like having a history of bipolar disorder, or self-mutilation. The military said this expansion is justified by the increasing availability of medical records allowing recruiters to analyze a potential recruit’s history in greater detail to make a more accurate assessment as to whether they’re fit to serve.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 12, 2017.
Carl von Clausewitz (1780 – 1831)  meant that war is the continuation of politics by other means. Instead in this modern episode, politics acts as the continuation of war: At the same rhythm in which the Syrian army and Russian forces, as well other allies, progress its irreversible military victory, the losing parties in the conflict seemingly attempt to compensate for their defeat by means of salacious political manoeuvres. The strategy of deposing the secular republic presided by Mr Bashar al-Assad, via financing pro-sharia fundamentalists that for years terrorized the Syrian population, did not work. The shift in the plan appears to consist in a multiple international effort to discredit the winners, politically and ad-hominem. Specifically, this has been pursued via allegations of ‘chemical attacks’, no matter how preposterous, or evidence-deprived, these claims may be. The most recent episode is a report of the ‘UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM)’  recently discussed at the Security Council. There are multiple reasons why to question the work of the JIM, as well of the ‘UN-Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic’ (COI),  now centred on the alleged incidents in Khan Shaykhun of April 2017. These reasons have to do with logical and methodological contradictions showed in the reports it self; some others are referred to political motivations and bias exercised by those commissions; and finally, related to serious flaws pertinent to the primary source for the allegations, principally the West-founded propaganda organization ‘White Helmets’.
Devin Kelley, the Texas church shooter, was convicted of crimes by a military court in 2012. Mainstream press outlets are reporting this fact to show he never should have been allowed to purchase a gun after his release from prison – except the Army failed to enter his criminal record in a national database that would have red-flagged him, when he tried to buy several weapons. But there is another issue. In 2012, while stationed at Holloman Air Force base, Kelley ‘pleaded guilty to two charges of assault and battery on his then-wife and aggravated assault on his infant stepson. Five other charges that included multiple incidents in which he allegedly aimed either a loaded or unloaded firearm at his wife were withdrawn as part of the plea deal.’ (ABC News) Kelley kicked and choked his wife a number of times. He fractured his infant stepson’s skull. The Air Force stated Kelley used enough force to kill his stepson or at least cause ‘grievous bodily harm.’ In his plea deal, Kelley admitted he struck his stepson intentionally. Here is the payoff, from ABC News: ‘A mixed jury of officers and enlisted personnel sentenced him [Kelley] to a year’s confinement and a reduction in two ranks from an airman first-class (A1C) to airman basic. He also received a bad conduct discharge.’
These are the poisoned fruits of a neofeudal system in which power, wealth and political influence are concentrated in the apex of the wealth-power pyramid. Stripped of pretense, ours is a culture of rape. Apologists for the system that spawned this culture of rape claim that this violence is the work of a few scattered sociopaths. The apologists are wrong: The system generates a culture of rape. The engine of our culture of rape is the elevation of the entitled-insider class to untouchability: they are above the law, and more equal than others in their freedom to impose every sick sociopathology known to humanity on the powerless peasants imprisoned in our noxious neofeudal system. For the true sickness of our society and culture is measured not in the vile crimes of our entitled-insider class: it’s measured by the armies of enablers, protectors, enforcers and apologists who protect the entitled-insider class from exposure and justice. After 25 years of blatant abuse of power and crimes that have yet to enter the court docket, 25 years during which the cream of the American media purposefully ignored his blatant abuses of power, the moldering putrid remains of American journalism has finally emerged from its fetid nests, trembling in the unaccustomed brightness of day, to “report,” 25 years too late to save his innumerable victims, Harvey Weinstein’s Army of Spies (New Yorker). You know how incestuous and cowardly our entitled-insider class is, and how they operate: for 25 long years, editors in the self-glorifying citadels of American journalism killed every story that would have exposed Mr. Weinstein’s actions to the world.